Repurposed Card Catalog Reveal

by | DIY, Home

UPDATE:  The card catalogs have found their permanent home here!

Well, this post has been one year in the making, and I finally finally FINALLY get to show off my new and beautiful repurposed card catalog!  Sometime last year, I saw some crazy lovely card catalogs and went on this binge of instant gratification – I WANTED a card catalog.  Now now now!  So I stalked Craigslist for a while and saw one for a reasonable price about 2 hours away from us in Connecticut.  I say reasonable because most of the card catalogs I saw on CL were small and expensive or large and ridiculously expensive, like over $1000 expensive.  The beauty I bought cost $300, but I paid my dues – Drew was grumpy bear having to borrow our friend’s SUV and drive me way out to Connecticut to lug this thing back and store it in the garage.  Grumpy bear continued as the card catalog sat in the garage through the rest of autumn, the cold weather, the morning sickness, the heat of the summer….and back into fall.  But now, after much nagging and procrastinating (I even did a roundup to try to motivate myself!) and lots of hard work on Drew’s part, I have two beautiful pieces for my attic craft room to hold everything my little heart desires.

One Dog Woof: Repurposed and Refinished Card Catalog Craft Storage

One Dog Woof: Refinished Card Catalog

Here’s an idea of what the card catalog looked like originally.  This isn’t ours, but it looked just like it.  The monstrosity had 72 drawers, the 3 drawers that slid out, and a solid base.  It weighed a ton because although the drawer fronts were solid wood, everything else was particle board.

At this point, I stopped taking photos of work in progress, mostly because the progress was at a snail’s pace.  The bottom of the catalog fell off when we transferred it to the garage, and we decided to leave it off.  We also thought about keeping it in one piece, but there was no way it was going to make it up to the attic in one piece, so I had Drew cut it in half.  I did lose the pull out writing surfaces because the cut was right through the middle, but sometimes, you just gotta make the sacrifice.

One Dog Woof: Card Catalog Reveal

We pulled out all the drawers, removed the fronts and all the fixtures.  Every surface was then sanded, primed, sanded, and painted with 2 to 3 coats of Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Kendall Charcoal.  The Advance paint is washable like latex paint, but smooths out very nicely like an oil based paint.  It hardens and cures well and I think it worked great for furniture, since I wasn’t in the mood to play with the ever popular chalk paint.

One Dog Woof: Card Catalog Split in Two

All the fixtures were polished one at a time with Brasso Multi Purpose Metal Polish: and an old shirt.  The fixture screws were replaced with steel screws, but we kept the screws that attached the drawer fronts to the drawers.  And in the process, Drew got himself a new toy, a small impact driver, so he didn’t have to do all that unscrewing and screwing back of all the pieces by hand.

Since the card catalog was cut in half, the bottom half needed a new top, so Drew cut a piece of plywood to fit and glued it in place.  The rough edges of cuts were shaved off and sanded, and both pieces were finished with casters at the bottom.  Even when they are completely loaded up, this preggo lady can move it around the room!

One Dog Woof: Card Catalog with casters
I’m now using one of the pieces to hold all of my small craft items, like embroidery floss, tools, jewelry findings, markers, paints, beads, buttons, and any other random tidbit that would fit in a drawer.

One Dog Woof: Card Catalog Renovation Reveal

One Dog Woof: Stamps in a Card CatalogA little OCD?  Maybe.

One Dog Woof: Store embroidery thread in a card catalogYes, I did wind all of my embroidery thread onto those little bobbins just to fit it all in.  But, oh, swoon!

The other piece holds all my sewing doodads, crochet and knitting tools, and a large portion of my yarn stash.

One Dog Woof: Repurposed Card Catalog
One Dog Woof: Cotton yarn fits in a card catalog
This was a huge project, but I seriously just sit in my craft room and stare at our handiwork and wonder how the heck we ever got around to finishing this thing.  I am so in love with my new furniture and Drew is glad that all those annoying crafty tools are finally moving out of the rest of the house and into organized little compartments out of his sight!



  1. azteclady

    I have storage envy!!! So pretty and so practical!

  2. Suzan

    Wow! Just found this post and I am equally in love with my library drawers – the instant obvious use for it holding all my craft tidbits! What i really love is the labelling, and that you can pull it out, pop it on the table and put it back again after use. My one is all separate units, consisting of two drawers each (I have ten units in total, so twenty drawers) and can stack them in whatever configuration. Mine a metal and still look rustic – they governemnt grey / blue is just how I like it. Enjoy crafting!

    • ChiWei

      That’s exactly is Suzan – that I can pull the whole drawer out to do stuff, and then put it back in. Makes clean up easy and keeps the husband happy! 🙂

  3. Shelly

    oooooooooohhhh, le sigh…… Good for you! What a fantastic find! I fantasize about a card catalogue -but I actually do not know where it would fit, really. So fabulous to see how you have put it to good use!

    • ChiWei

      Thanks Shelly!

  4. Marty Walden

    My dream is to have library card catalog drawers. Doesn’t mater where they go (ideally in the craft room). I just want them! Yours are amazing. ~drool~

    • ChiWei

      Thank you thank you! I think I got really lucky with these 🙂

  5. Lauren

    I absolutely am in love with this piece! You have inspired me to do this will my 72 drawer card catalog. (With a little spin of my own, of course) Did you sell the second piece? If so, could I ask for how much?

  6. Michele

    I hope I didn’t miss this info somewhere, but did the piece come with rods in each drawer? If so, how were you able to remove them? Thanks!

  7. Anita

    Curious about the rods in each drawer. Did you remove them? If so why?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.